[XeTeX] Egyptian hieroglyphs in XeTeX

John Was john.was at ntlworld.com
Tue Aug 25 16:17:59 CEST 2009

I can quite see why the Unicode consortium has hitherto given Egyptian 
hieroglyphs a low priority but I don't follow the logic of any argument that 
would tend to exclude them from consideration on the grounds of the large 
number of glyphs - one might as well exclude Japanese or Chinese for the 
same reason.  All written languages have as many glyph variants as there are 
people who write in that language, but Egyptian surely conforms to the 
practice of many other complex scripts:  it has an alphabet (one hieroglyph 
= one consonant), and a large number of pairs etc. (one hieroglyph = two or 
more consonants), as well as hieroglyphs that act as grammatical, 
syntactical, or other sorts of linguistic markers.  But the fact that it can 
be written from left to right or right to left (like e.g. ancient Greek 
inscriptions), or vertically, doesn't affect or diminish its status as a 
fully fledged script, and it is surely a good thing that scholars and font 
designers in the field will soon have a Unicode standard to work to.


----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Benct Philip Jonsson" <bpj at melroch.se>
To: "Unicode-based TeX for Mac OS X and other platforms" <xetex at tug.org>
Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 1:33 PM
Subject: Re: [XeTeX] Egyptian hieroglyphs in XeTeX

> Arthur Reutenauer skrev:
>>> "Basic Egyptian  Hieroglyphs will be published with Unicode 5.2 
>>> (expected October  2009)."
>>   See http://www.unicode.org/Public/5.2.0/charts/unversioned/U13000.pdf
>> for the draft chart.
>> Arthur
> And see
> <http://www.tlg.uci.edu/~opoudjis/unicode/unicode_epichorica.html#spoilsports>
> and
> <http://www.unicode.org/notes/tn3/>
> for why it is not a high priority to encode
> "scripts from the past"; in short there is no
> standardization in these scripts -- being
> written/engraved by hand there are umpteen glyph
> variants for each character and sometimes even
> nonce characters -- and when scholars need to
> quote texts qua texts/linguistic data they
> transliterate.
> When the actual characters/glyphs used in the
> manuscripts/inscriptions are at issue -- e.g.
> using glyph types to date or locate a text -- a
> font isn't very practical compared to images. In
> an electronic edition one would typically indicate
> the character variant used by some markup, or in a
> printed work have a note saying that "this <f> is
> of type 3a, referring to somewhere where the types
> are presented with images, rather than faithfully
> reproduce the MS glyph in print. It might have
> been fun to do so, but not practical: if you
> *really* want to show what the MSS look like photo-
> reproduction would be the way nowadays.
> As for writing teaching manuals for reading MSS I
> guess there would be a need for reproducing the
> actual characters, but I reckon that's what the
> PUA(s) is/are for.
> /BP 8^)>
> -- 
> Benct Philip Jonsson -- melroch atte melroch dotte se
> ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
>  "C'est en vain que nos Josués littéraires crient
>  à la langue de s'arrêter; les langues ni le soleil
>  ne s'arrêtent plus. Le jour où elles se *fixent*,
>  c'est qu'elles meurent."           (Victor Hugo)

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